Thousands of people in the UK are wrapping themselves up in jumpers rather than turning up the heat, a recent moneysupermarket.com survey found.
However, as the cold weather bites and your energy use soars, there could be a better way. Switching energy providers is often an easy way to cut down on your bills - by finding the best deal in your area you could save an average of £261 a year.
Scott Byrom, moneysupermarket.com's utilities expert, said: "Energy consumption is at its highest over the winter months, on average we use around 40 per cent of our annual fuel consumption between November and January.
"But despite higher usage, millions of households could cut their energy bills by switching tariff. It's such as simple thing to do but the majority are failing to take advantage of the leading deals available and as a nation it means we're paying a staggering £3.3billion a year more than we need to for our gas and electricity."
But what's all this about getting paid to cut your bills? Read on to find out...
Get paid by Scottish Power...
Not only will switching energy supplier probably mean lower annual bills, but you could also receive £40 in your pocket almost immediately if you take advantage of the exclusive Scottish Power cashback offer available through moneysupermarket.com.
We've recently seen a spate of energy providers cutting the cost of their cheapest tariffs. In some instances, people have been able to cut their bills by more than £400 a year.
The cheapest average energy available is from newcomer OVO Energy, with an average bill of just £920.68 - but this is now beaten by a new cashback offer from Scottish Power.
Once the £40 cashback is factored in, Scottish Power's Online Energy Saver 7 tariff offers the best value for the average household.
That deal has an average bill of £952.36, meaning it will cost the typical household £912.36 over the next 12-months.
These figures are based on the national average consumption however, so you may find an alternative tariff proves to be cheaper for your own individual circumstances. This is easy to do: just enter your details into our
comparison tool and we'll show you the deal that's best for you and how much you could save over the course of the year. Get paid by the government...
Making your home more energy efficient can shave hundreds of pounds off your bills, as well as reducing your household's carbon footprint.
The government will pay certain households up to £3,500 to help them boost their property's energy efficiency and heating - cutting their bills substantially.
In England, there's a scheme called
Warm Front, in Wales it's the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme and in Scotland you can apply for the Energy Assistance Package.
Only certain people will qualify - for example, those with young children who are also receiving Income Support.
If you're over 60, you may also qualify for other financial assistance. Under the Warm Front scheme, those over the age of 60 who aren't eligible for the £3,500 grant, can apply for £300 to help fund a new central heating system.
You will have to pay the rest of the cost yourself, but in the long run a more efficient system could bring your bills right down.
Some local authorities also have funding schemes to help people make their homes more energy efficient. Get in touch with yours and find out what's on offer.
Remember, making your home more energy efficient doesn't just benefit your pocket, it also helps the planet - so it's well worth seeing if you qualify for a grant.
Get paid by the big six...
If Scottish Power isn't the best deal for you, or if you've locked into a year-long deal, don't worry - you could still get paid to reduce your bills.
Thanks to the government's Carbon Emission Reduction Target, energy suppliers have to help a certain number of homes to improve their energy efficiency.
As a result, the big six have a range of offers to help people pay for energy efficient installations. For example, in 2008, npower installed cavity wall insulation in more than 65,000 homes and loft insulation in over 97,000.
The quickest way to lower your energy is to
compare energy tariffs and move to a more competitive deal - you could be hundreds of pounds a year better off.
For more tips on cutting down on the energy you use in your home, read our article '
Ten simple steps for saving energy'. You can also watch our video ' How to read your energy bill' to help you understand exactly what you're paying for.
Are you worried about the cost of heating your home this winter? Let us know in our
Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.
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